Saudi-backed LIV Golf could possibly be banned in New Jersey.
Two Democratic state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban LIV Golf from New Jersey clubs.
The legislation, sponsored by Senators Andrew Zwicker and Richard Codey, would prohibit contests by all sports organizations “operated primarily through use of monies received from sovereign wealth funds,” according to a news release.
LIV Golf is a well-financed startup tour trying to compete with the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association of America) Tour, which sanctions the bulk of pro golf in the country for more than 100 years. LIV is backed by the Public Invest Fund, led by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Why it’s news
The senators cited Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women and dissidents, alleged ties to the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks involving 15 Saudi citizens among the 19 plane hijackers. In all, 750 New Jersey residents were killed that day, according to Bloomberg.
“No one would have believed that after that terrible day that we would be allowing foreign governments to hold events in New Jersey in an attempt to clean up their image after centuries of human-rights abuses and connections to terrorists,” Senator Codey said in a statement.
Backing it up a bit
The new tour was created to compete with the PGA and has pulled many big name golfers away from the famous tour with promises of hefty checks—creating tremendous tension in the world of golf. For example, LIV will pay Phil Mickelson $200 million to play in the tour, which is nearly double what legend Tiger Woods has earned in prize money during his entire career. LIV gave the world’s number-one golfer Dustin Johnson a four-year, $125 million contract, double his lifetime earnings of $74 million.Along with players, LIV has also been adding some big names to its broadcast team. In recent weeks popular golf commentator David Feherty joined the startup tour as a broadcast analyst and continues to add big names to its roster.